END OF THE YEAR PRE-LAW COMMITTEE REPORT

MEMBERS OF THE PRE-LAW COMMITTEE:
CPT Scott Lucas: Chair
LTC Margaret Lally
MAJ John Kuzenski
CPT Kyle Sinisi

The Pre-Law Committee held two meetings, one in the Fall Semester and one in the Spring Semester. Present at the Fall meeting were Lucas, Lally, and Sinisi. At this meeting, the committee discussed the success and failures observed in last year’s seniors’ preparations for applying to law school. The committee expressed surprise at the gap between the level of schools cadets thought they could get into and the actual level of schools for which their test scores and grades made them competitive. The committee agreed that pre-law students need to be told early and often of the overwhelming importance of the LSAT (Law School Admissions Test) score in admissions decisions. They need to be made aware that large numbers of extracurricular activities or even a high GPA is no guarantee of favorable action by a law school. The committee agreed that its members need to continue to urge students to take classes that cultivate critical reading, writing, and thinking skills: precisely those skills needed to do well on the LSAT. CPT Sinisi also suggested that committee members urge pre-law cadets to join the Inn of Court and to attend visits by law school representatives as early in their academic career as possible.

CPT Lucas reported on the Inn of Court’s pre-law activities scheduled for the academic year. He noted that eight law schools had asked to visit The Citadel, the highest number since his arrival in 1998. Lucas mentioned that an alumnus donated $300 to the Inn to fund a luncheon in honor of Dean John Benfield, Dean of Admissions at USC Law School. He also detailed the plans for a panel discussion to follow the Fine Arts presentation of the play 2: Goering at Nuremberg. This panel, comprising BGEN Michael Barrett, COL Ted Tucker, Mr. Clarence Felder (lead actor in the drama), and former Nuremberg prosecutor Theodore Fenstermacher, would lead audience discussion in the legal, historical, and literary issues raised by the play.

At this meeting, the committee also reviewed the LSAT scores of the several rising seniors who took the LSAT in June. The committee was heartened by the test scores of this group, which were generally higher than those of last year’s seniors. The committee was hopeful that this rise was due in part to its constant exhortations to pre-law cadets to prepare well in advance for this crucial exam.

At the Spring meeting of the Pre-law Committee, the committee members present (Lucas, Lally, Sinisi) reviewed the Law School Admissions Council’s "Action Report" on our graduates who applied to law school in the 99-00 academic year. As the committee expected, the results for our ’99 and ’00 graduates were disappointing. Although most applied to numerous law schools, many were admitted to only one school and some were not admitted to any law program. The committee was unhappy to see that the average LSAT score for ’99 and ’00 grads who applied to law school in the ‘99-’00 academic year was only about the 32nd percentile, placing the "average" cadet too low to be admitted to any but the least selective law schools. CPT Sinisi urged the committee chair to write a letter to Dean Ozment informing her of this poor showing and endorsing her moves to increase cadets’ focus on academics during her tenure as dean. The committee as a whole expressed concern that extracurricular activities were distracting too many promising cadets from their studies and thus lowering their achievement on the LSAT. The committee members pledged to continue to urge their advisees to focus on academics and preparation for the LSAT in order to help them to realize their dreams of entering law school.

The committee reviewed the LSAT scores of those cadets who took the LSAT in October, December, and February. Once again, Committee members were heartened by the rise in achievement of many of these test takers over those who had taken the test in the year before.

CPT Lucas reported on the activities of the Inn of Court, including the success of the Goering at Nuremberg panel, the visits by law school representatives, and the Spring Reading given by LTC Gardel Feurtado. He also reported on his success in getting Kaplan Test Preparation Services to bring LSAT prep. classes to The Citadel’s campus in the Fall and Spring.

The meeting ended with anecdotal reports of where our ’01 graduates were being accepted to law school. The quality and quantity of the law schools accepting our students seemed much higher than that of those that had accepted the ’99 and ’01 graduates last year. The committee was happy to hear of our seniors’ success and plans to approach its advising of next year’s law school applicants with the same vigor it devoted to last year’s group.

 

Submitted by CPT Scott Lucas, Chair, Pre-Law Committee
May, 2001